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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Nimrod contract secures 700 jobs
MRA4 Nimrod
The Nimrod MRA4 will perform a maritime reconnaissance role
Seven hundred jobs have been secured at a BAE Systems plant by the announcement of a major defence contract.

Twelve new Nimrod spy planes are to be built at the BAE site in Woodford, Stockport, for use in search and rescue and submarine hunting missions.

The new Nimrod MRA4s will be capable of flying missions of 6,000 nautical miles without refuelling and fly at altitudes of up to 42,000ft.

A further 300 jobs have been secured within BAE following the announcement.

Arms and aircraft on display at the show

'World leader'

The decision was announced at the Farnborough Air Show by Defence Secretary Des Browne.

The MRA4 then made its first public appearance in a fly-past above the show.

Mark Hunter, Lib Dem MP for Cheadle, said the 3bn deal was good news for the aerospace industry in the North West.

"It removes the uncertainty about the future of the site. The jobs are safe, the business is safe, and the plant is safe, so yes indeed there is a lot to celebrate in Woodford tonight."

BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner said: "The new MRA4 is a world leader in terms of maritime patrol platforms and will give the UK at least 30 years of adaptable capability in maritime reconnaissance and attack operations."

He added: "The aircraft has the potential to fulfil a number of important strategic roles for the RAF."

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